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Support battalion unveils new colors

Published: 02:24PM October 20th, 2011

Sgt. Kendra McCurdy

Lt. Col. Katherine J. Graef and Command Sgt. Maj. Terry E. Moten, of 13th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 593rd Sust. Bde., uncase the the battalion colors during a ceremony on Seay Field, JBLM Lewis North Oct. 13. The unit was formerly the 80th Ordnance Battalion.

The message was “be proud.” Proud of the Soldiers and of the unit, both old and new.

Lieutenant Colonel Katherine J. Graef and Command Sgt. Maj. Terry E. Moten cased the red flag of the 80th Ordnance Battalion and replaced it with the colors of the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a reflagging ceremony on Seay Field Oct. 14.

Graef and commander of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade Col. Scott J. Lofreddo, who have each been assigned to the 80th as well as to the 13th during their careers, spoke during the ceremony.

“What I say to you today is be proud. Be proud of your accomplishments in the past and in the present. And maintain that pride for the future. Be proud of your professionalism for being part of the profession of arms, for there is no more honorable service in our nation than to be an American Soldier,” Lofreddo said.

Graef said she and Moten are “committed to honoring the legacy of the 80th and the 13th by building on their collective service to establish a sustainment unit known for professional, innovative and comprehensive logistics.”

“In that spirit, and to connect the 13th CSSB to its new home in the Pacific Northwest,” said Graef, “Our new unit designation is ‘the Pioneers.’”

The 13th CSSB’s new motto, inspired by recent training exercises is “Find a way.”

The unit’s reflagging was dictated by Army Structure Memorandum 12-17 almost two years ago—before Graef commanded the battalion, and the unit has been gradually preparing ever since.

“It’s been operating as a multifunctional unit for a long time; we have been operating as a CSSB for many years,” Graef said.

“Becoming the 13th CSSB is exciting because our name now says who we are,” added Graef, whom Lofreddo called “the best in a long line of ‘Renovimus’ commanders.”

Instead of being solely an ordnance battalion, the 13th has been deactivating some of its companies and will continue to reorganize its structure so that they are more self sufficient and able to deploy individually.

Future plans include adding a transportation company and a maintenance company.

The purpose behind this reorganization, Graef said, is to increase modularity. Instead of deploying an entire battalion, a smaller company or detachment, with specialized skills can deploy and complete the mission. The biggest challenge in operating as a “plug-and-play” unit is maintaining continuity of command. After learning to work with the battalion and brigade staffs in garrison, a company deploys and has to learn to work with a new higher echelon staff.

“We combat that with the training we do,” Graef said. ”That’s why I’m so eager to send companies to training,” she added. Recent events included sending one company to Yakima Training Center, and another to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.